New West Guitar Group, featuring virtuosos Jeff Stein, Perry Smith and John Storie, has been making its mark as a premier acoustic/electric guitar ensemble since they released their debut album in 2005 while still students at USC. They have since piled up numerous awards and accolades, and enjoyed broad international exposure. The group will open the 2012-13 Sunday Jazz Series at the Norman Depot, 200 S. Jones, on October 28 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Students are $10.
This young, innovative trio is making its mark with live performances in major venues throughout the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Asia. The music press has raved. Acoustic Guitar Magazine praised the range of their music “from chamber-like elegance and fragile introspection to exhilarating swing and gritty blues.” Metronome (Oct. 2011) writes that “Beautiful acoustic rhythms, vibrant classically infused single note lines and jazzy arpeggios cover the magnificent musical landscape these three players create,” continuing “. . . If you’ve never heard of New West Guitar Group, I highly suggest you check out this talented trio. You’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.”
Based in Los Angeles, New West’s original music combines the foundation of jazz with elements of blues, rock and folk. But, given the dynamic and diverse nature of their music – and the philosophy of openness that inspires it – the group steers clear of labels that might be limiting. “By design the New West sound doesn’t easily fit into any one genre,” Perry says. “I’m always interested in hearing forward moving and expansive music, because that often entails creating an original sound and approach. One of the people we really look up to – someone who has played with our group in the past – is Pat Metheny. You can listen to him and his band and say, ‘Is that jazz? What is that?’ Eventually, after a number of years, you stop asking and you just say, ‘Well, that’s Pat Metheny.’ That’s what it becomes. That’s the approach we’ve taken with New West. ”
New West Guitar Group continues to develop music that combines the different timbres of acoustic and electric guitars to a create that signature sound, most recently reflected in Round-Trip Ticket, an October 2011 Summit Records release that Stein says “… is the first record that truly represents how we sound live.” Downbeat Magazine (Dec. 2011) describes it as “. . .an open-spaces, sunlight-dappled record that feels like it was recorded en plein air, with the three musicians surrounded by Redwoods.” A beautiful thing.
Tickets for the New West Guitar Group Concert are available at TicketStorm.com, the Norman Depot or, (if still available) at the door. For additional information phone The Performing Arts Studio at 405-307-9320 or visit pasnorman.org.
The Sunday Jazz schedule for the 2012-13 season also includes:
Nov. 11, Ivan Pena Group, 7:30 pm, $10/$7
Dec. 16, Sisters of Swing Holiday Show, 7:30 pm, $10/$7
Jan. 13, Cleve Warren Quartet, 7:30 pm, $7:30, $10/$7
Feb. 10, Maurice Johnson Quartet, 7:30 pm, $10/$7
March 10, Alegria Real, 7:30 pm, $10/$7
April 14, TBA (looking for a national artist for this date.)
May 12, Larry Hammett Group, 7:30 pm, $10/$7
The PAS Sunday Jazz Series is made possible in part by grants from the Norman Arts Council, the Oklahoma Arts Council, sponsors Mark and Dianne Williams, and other generous donors.